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The Tool Box: A Father and Autism

Rusty toolbox

Editor's Note: This Facebook post, by a man who goes by Autistic Living, is reprinted with his permission.

I may make a lot of jokes, say outrageous things, and avoid the touchy-feely stuff as much as possible............ but it DOES hit me. Usually when I least expect it.

A few days ago I picked up a new toolbox through some masterful ebay bidding. The owner was PISSED, because it was a $13,000 toolbox. I won the auction at barely a fraction of that.

I thought I was buying a used toolbox, which at the price I paid was still an amazing deal.

When my neighbor and I arrived at the place to pick it up, there it was. The plastic film is still on it. It had never been used.

So tonight, sitting in the garage only a few moments ago I thought "I need to put a few coats of wax on this thing."

Snap-on tool boxes are not painted, but "powder coated". It's shiny and looks like regular paint, but the application process is different. I've owned their stuff before, and always waxed them with regular wax I use on my truck. But because this one is basically new, I thought I would research it a bit more and figure out the best wax to use for the finish.

Google, google, google, and I arrive at a message board for motor-heads.

I found a thread on waxing professional tool boxes. I read through the posts, la la la, looking for some opinions on wax.

Then I read those words, that flipped a switch in me that put me where I am now. Probably in one of these most depressed moods I've been in, in a very long time. Here are the words:

"Yes i am looking to protect my investment the box is a Snap on kra2411 not the biggest or the most expensive but it's mine and it's fully paid for and i would like to hand it down to my son when the time comes but i don't think that Snap on clearcoats their boxes. I have to admit that i am fairly anal about keeping my box and organized but that's the way i am"

Well, I wont be passing any of my tools or boxes on to my son. I'm sure they'll be sold when I'm gone, to help pay for his care. I doubt I can even leave him with advice, or knowledge, as I'm not sure he even understands me beyond basic instructions and simple comments. In fact, other than money, I doubt I'll be leaving anything to my son, because he wont have a use for anything but money to pay for his care.

Sometimes I wish autism were a guy. Some evil guy like "Dracula" in a black cape, running through the streets, sucking the voices and cognitive ability away from our children.

Because then? Then I could hunt the fucker like a dog, and drive a stake right through the middle of his heart. Twice.



Prince Charles having a grandson -- stirred something in me yesterday, and it was not pretty.

Gone Huntin'

The brutal honesty is incredibly refreshing.
I was a dyed-in-the-wool pacifist before this autism beast entered our home. Now? Hand me that stake.


Well, that article struck me right in the heart... I hope to see more of Autistic Living's insights published here. Though some may find his content at times overly raw, he is a very compelling writer with keen insights on the human condition. Rips away the illusions and tells it like it is.


Three times...


I've often thought about how I wish autism would manifest itself as a living breathing thing outside of my son's body - even if only for a moment - so I could kill it with my bare hands. I'm pretty sure a lot of autism dad's have felt this way. But I don't think any of us could have said it any better than Autistic Living.

Tim Kasemodel

I want to thank you, Autistic living, for sharing this.

I too have gone through hell and back and kept a sense of humor to keep my chin up. Add to that an almost blunt force, in your face style of describing the reality of the combination of severe autism, bowel disease and nearly complete dysfunction of th immune system. I almost seem to relish the look on the faces of people when they realize our kids are not all savants.

But I too have had the complete and most unpredictable breakdown over some small trigger. First was many years ago at a Son-Rise Program (Autism Treatment Center of America, Sheffield MA) and a mom and dad had made a video of their non-verbal son with snapshot photos passing by to the tune "The smile on your face lets me know that you need me...." by Alison Krauss. At the end of the chorus she sings "You say it best, when you say nothing at all".

I turned into a blibbering idiot that did not go away for nearly half an hour. I had to just let it out.

Same thing happened years later when I was watching the movie "Jack" with Robin Williams about a boy who ages 4 times as fast as normal. by the time he was 12 he was actually aged 48 years. One of his classmates got in front of the class and was telling them what she expected to be doing in 20 years. She talked of marriage, family and a carreer - and it suddenly hit William's charachter "Jack" that he would not be having the same future as all of his peers, his would be very different.

I immediately thought about my son and what his peers would be doing as opposed to him in 20 years. Instant blibbering idiot once more.

I am still not sure what really caused me to lose it those times, but I have become over the years able to not look back at what I believe I missed, and focus on what is ahead for my son. Not that that is easy, but that at least I can do it with no regrets.

BTW, I have the Kaufman's and the Option training through the Son-Rise Program to thank for being able to "keep my chin up". Even though we are not doing the program for our son anymore, the lessons we learned will never be forgotten.

John Gilmore

Indeed, Autistic Living, indeed.

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